Zephaniah starts his prophecy telling us his family background (1:1); he is a fourth-generation descendant of King Hezekiah (King of Judah from 715-686BC). Does this pedigree matter to you? Why or why not?
His opening words of prophecy tells of a terrible judgment to come: “I will sweep away everything from the face of the earth” (1:2). It closes on the “day of the Lord” when God “will make a sudden end of all who live in the earth” (1:18). This just might be the harshest, most universal judgment announcement in the Bible. How does this make you feel? How does this make you feel about God?
God is clearly a little upset with Judah. What has Judah done wrong? (see 1:4-6)
Why is this book relevant to Christians today? On Sunday we talked through a lot of application for us today – what did that include?
What does it mean to keep the Sabbath? How might we either be too legalistic or too liberal in this?
Are these feasts in Leviticus 23 really relevant to us today? If so how, and why don’t we celebrate them within the modern church?
As a group discuss each of the first three feasts; how are they a reminder of past things and in which ways do they speak of things that were to come.
In the sermon we looked at the dates of Passover, preparation, selecting the sacrifice etc. and how the prophecies of Daniel 9, Psalm 118 and Zechariah 9, Luke 11:29 form part of the picture. Discuss how all of this fits together in God’s plan, how tradition has confused things and what this might teach us about the importance of studying the whole of scripture.
Please use the points below to guide you in a time of prayer.
This term’s prayer pointers:
Give regular thanks for answered prayer;
Pray that The Lord will build His Church at New Connexions: spiritually, physically and numerically;
Seek the Lord for direction as to outreach in the year ahead.
So often in our Christian lives we spend inordinate amounts of time talking about prayer, wanting to seek the Lord and do His will; which I believe are great sentiments, but as we approach the end of the year I’m drawn back to some words we used at the start of our year in our covenant service, words which were borrowed from a great puritan called Richard Alleine:
I am no longer my own but yours. Put me to what you will, rank me with whom you will; put me to doing, put me to suffering; let me be employed for you or laid aside for you, exalted for you or brought low for you; let me be full, let me be empty, let me have all things, let me have nothing; I freely and wholeheartedly give all things to you. Glorious and blessed God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, you are mine and I am yours. So be it. This my covenant with you my God, made here on earth, let it be confirmed in heaven. Amen
Why not take that prayer again, study it, meditate on it, discuss it and consider: as individuals, and as Christ’s Church, have we yet made this prayer our own? How can we encourage one another, and what is the Lord asking of us as individuals walking in covenant with Him? If studying in a group: spend a good time in prayer seeking the Lord for each other and the wider Church. When studying alone: also, of course, pray through the issues that arise in your heart.
Missed the sermon? Never mind, you can pick it up here: GO!
Read Matthew 28: 11-20
In the first 5 verses discuss how each of the characters mentioned responded to the resurrection, i.e., what did they do, what did they say and why?
In the sermon those first 5 verses were described as what (in comparison with the last 5). Discuss as a group why it is important:
to be aware of what the enemy wants;
understand the enemies tactics;
to fully understand the enemy is defeated?
Some doubted… discuss.
Jesus delivers his “commission” sandwiched between a statement (verse 18) and another encouraging instruction (verse 20b). discuss what difference that should make to us.
Talk through the instruction to Go and… (verses 19 and 20a), considering as you go: what is a disciple, how do you make disciples, what is baptism and why is it important? Why in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit?
Put yourself in the place of the people in verses 13-24. What are they doing, thinking and feeling? Why does Jesus ask the two what they are discussing (verse 17) and “what things” had been going on lately (verse 19)?
Sum up Cleopas and the other disciple’s answers? What do you make of their understanding of who Jesus is?
Look at verses 25-27. Is Jesus being hard on the disciples? Why or why not? What is he particularly concerned about? Why do you think it was “necessary”for the Messiah to “suffer these things and then enter into his glory”?
Jesus showed them the passages all through the Bible that were about Him. What are some of these passages that he might have mentioned? Here are some to get you started(Genesis 3:15; Numbers 21:6-9 [cf. John 3:14-15]; Deuteronomy 18:15; Psalms 22; 16:8-11; 118:22-23; Isaiah 11:1-7; 53:1-6; 61:1 [with Luke 4:18-22]; Daniel 7:13-14 [cf. Matthew 26:64].), but there are many more, try and find as many as you can.
What do you think it means that their hearts “burned within them” when Jesus explained the Scriptures to them (verse 32)? Have you ever experienced this as you’ve read your bible?
What has changed about the disciples understanding about Jesus, and what is the effect?
Read Luke 19:28-19:44; discuss what you know about what was going on in this account from Luke (much of the usual focus on this was missed from the sermon, but if you need more background refer to older sermons on Palm Sunday online, check out other accounts and cross references to other scripture).
Talk through the implications of how the tail end of this reading fits in with Jesus’ words in Matthew 7:21-7:23.
Consider how we ought to be applying this and why so often people coast along in church without making that commitment to Christ?
There is a prophecy here: EU Brexit? please read it and discuss it as a group.
The following prophecy which came to David Noakes, from the Issachar Ministries Trust, came our attention this week, and we think it is demands serious consideration and prayer.
“Nation of Britain, I have loved you with a love which has not ceased, despite the state of apostasy and degradation into which you have fallen. My anger towards those church leaders who have taught false things in my Name, and encouraged others to believe and act as they do, is intense and my judgment upon them will be severe. Yet I have compassion upon those who have been like sheep without godly shepherds; and my heart still longs to exercise mercy upon a nation whose forefathers upheld my Name and took my Word to the ends of the earth; a nation whose belief in the truth of my Word framed godly laws and inspired a culture of uprightness.
“Rather than rely on Me and my faithfulness to you, you chose, for worldly purposes, to join yourself to an institution which has denied my Name and refused to acknowledge Me in its councils. My fierce anger is upon that institution on account of its rebellion, its defiant rejection of me and its hardness of heart towards my ancient people Israel.
“I warn you now that the European institution will not repent, even though I bring disaster and destruction upon it. I urge you, O Britain still beloved by Me for the sake of your godly forefathers, come out of her, so that you may not be caught up in that same destruction, for I am even now arising in judgment to bring to nothing what she has sought to achieve. If you will separate yourself from her declared rejection of God, I will have mercy upon you and restore my hand of protection; and I will use you once again to bring light to many lost in the darkness which is now steadily increasing.
“Hear Me, O once godly nation and respond to my call, or you also will come to ruin in that same judgment of destruction. This is not my will for you, but you must choose the course which you will take. I urge you to respond to Me and choose life under my hand of discipline and protection, rather than death in the disaster which is even now coming upon Europe.”